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3 Steps Toward Reconciliation in Your Marriage

Are You Angry With Your Spouse?

Do You Feel Rejected, helpless, and hurt?

Are you seeking relief from the anger and frustration?

Do you want to run from your spouse’s rejection?

My friend, take heart. Our gracious God loves you AND your spouse. And He wants to bring healing and reconciliation to your marriage.

Sin isolates us from our spouse.

We must not let it.

Love your spouse through the sinful spot they’re in.

God wants your faithfulness even when being faithful comes at a cost. He has intentionally placed you with your spouse to help you both look more like Him.

So, how does He bring reconciliation?

Let’s first look at how He reconciles us to Himself.

What God does and does NOT do…

God does NOT...

  • Ignore our sin, pretend it isn’t there

  • Hope our sin will go away on its own

  • Complain or slander us because of our sin

Instead, He sent His Son to pay for our sin! 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 tells us, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself…

God DOES...

Make us a new creation and sees us through Christ. He knows the blood of His Son has covered our sins. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we are reconciled to Him- God our Father.

What great love!

How powerful it would be to show such love to our spouse… despite their sin.

Let the healing begin…

When sin is running rampant in our home, where do we even start? What’s the first step?

Look at James 5:15-16- And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1. Healing starts with confession. Your confession.

You might be thinking, but my SPOUSE is the one steeped in sin. I may sin a little here or there, but it’s not as major as what they’re doing.

If this is you, there is a speck/log situation occurring. Remember Matthew 7:3-5? Every sin, big or small, is worthy of spiritual death. Sin separates.

For a moment, set aside your spouse’s mess and look at your own. Have you responded in sin to your spouse’s sin? Rolled your eyes? Huffed and puffed? How about throwing their sin back in their face, punishing them for how they’ve sinned against you? None of these actions align with how God calls us to respond.

Reconciliation begins at the heart level. No peace with your spouse can be attained without addressing what is in your own heart first.

Remember 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, how those of us who’ve placed our faith in Christ are a new creation? Let’s read the next 2 verses (19-20). Count how many times you see the word “reconciliation” or some form of it.

…that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

It’s in our sinful pride that we reject this message. We must remind ourselves of the healing truth of the Gospel. It’s sinful to make our spouse pay for the wrong they’ve done because Jesus already paid that price. ALL our sins, ALL our spouse’s sins- past, present, and future- are paid for through His work on the cross.

So, we must confess what is in our own heart, no matter how “small” it may seem. Here’s how:

  • Go to your spouse with a repentant heart

  • Look completely (and only) at your sins, not at theirs

  • When you confess, be specific in admitting hurts/offenses you’ve caused

  • Identify sinful attitudes and thoughts as well as actions and behaviors


  • Expect questions (What took you so long to apologize?), maybe a defensive reaction

  • Stay focused on confession (don’t get defensive!)

  • Share your heart: you want to be made right with them and God

When your spouse sees that you recognize your sin, it WILL soften their heart, even if you don’t see the fruit right away.

2. After you confess, repent.

In his book The Peacemaker, Ken Sande writes, “Repentance is more than a feeling. To repent means literally to change the way we think.”

You may think, I’ve tried, but I can’t help the way I feel.

I know Someone who can change us from the inside out. Our faithful Father does not want us to stay stuck in our old ways, never changing, never moving forward. That’s why He tells us in Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Repentance is…

  • Recognizing you’re a sinner and have rebelled against God

  • A heart-level confession to God with a genuine cry for His forgiveness

  • Unyielding turning to God in total obedience (a spiritual about-face)

  • Replacing your sin with words, thoughts, and actions in accordance with God’s Word

True repentance will be seen in the fruit of a person’s life; turning from sin and being changed and transformed from the inside out. (If you're desiring change in your life and marriage, check out this quick read: Desiring Change? Start Here.)

3. Remember HIS forgiveness so you can give forgiveness.

When your spouse comes seeking forgiveness, be ready to give it.


By continually remembering God’s forgiveness to us.

Remember 2 Corinthians 5:19- in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses (sins) against them…

In Christ.

Jesus is the bridge between us and God.

He’s also the bridge between us and our spouse.

When our spouse sins against us, we are called to forgive, no matter how we feel about it, just like Christ did for us. Read Hosea 3 and see the absolutely beautiful picture of God’s love for us, despite our rejection of Him. Verse 1 says, And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods…”

This is a picture of Christ dying for our sins while we were yet sinners.

It can be difficult in our humanness to even consider forgiving our spouse at times. Some sins just seem too big. But God’s Word calls us to do nothing less than forgive.

The good news is, He would never command us to do something without empowering us to do it! Remembering how loving, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in forgiveness our God has been to us compels us to extend the same love, grace, and forgiveness to our spouse.

Because of the reconciliation we have in Christ to God, there is always hope that you can have complete restoration in your marriage.

Confess, repent, forgive, repeat… and restoration is in store!

Once this process has begun, the door to restoration is opened.

Restoration will be a time of rebuilding trust, respect, and closeness, and a process of receiving Biblical truth, living under God’s counsel, and living a life of obedience to those truths and counsel.

Keep in mind…

  • Change is NOT instantaneous

  • It’s not enough to just know Scriptural truths; you must put them into action (James 2:26)

  • When the vertical relationship with God is in check, the horizontal relationship with others will reap the benefits

  • Preach the gospel to yourself daily (If that's familiar to you, check out this resource): from a heart that relies on the gospel will come pure, God-centered motivation and commitment to change

  • Take one, initial step of obedience and the rest will follow

Your spouse may never reciprocate a desire to reconcile. If this is the case, take heart and stay faithful. In the meantime:

  • YOU be the one to follow the process of reconciliation (confess, repent, forgive, repeat)

  • YOU be the one to pray for them

  • Model your Savior’s love to them every. single. day.

But don’t try to walk the road alone… (And remember, you never ARE alone! Read THIS for encouragement.)

  • Immerse yourself in God’s Word; read the Bible daily, highlighting and memorizing verses/passages that speak to you

  • Surround yourself with people who will speak the truth of Scripture into your life

  • Attend church weekly, take sermon notes

  • Get involved in a Bible study and/or small group

  • Let people in your life to be a source of encouragement and admonishment

Vow to change: an encouraging call to action

Do not just read the items above; complete them. Then watch and see what the outcome is; you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re not sure of the specific areas in your life which require repentance, do the following:

  1. This week, keep a journal of any significant/hostile conversations with your spouse (or conversations you are avoiding!)

  2. Write down specifically what you were doing, thinking, feeling, and expecting before, during, and after each conversation

This is a heart-examining assignment that will show your heart’s need to change by showing areas of your heart that are in violation of God’s Word, thus leading you to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

If forgiveness seems like an impossibility…

  1. Read the following Bible stories that highlight forgiveness: Jesus’ Crucifixion (Luke 23:26-46),The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)

  2. Make a journal entry for each story, identifying the person to whom you most relate and why

  3. Pray for the desire and discipline to seek and extend forgiveness to your spouse this week

Remember, God’s desire for you is a right relationship with Him.

Then you can share with others what He’s done for you, and through you following HIS example, reconciliation will occur.

Relationships will be restored.

And the world will know He longs for them to be reconciled to Himself.

Check this out

Maybe some of the anger you/your spouse have felt stems from financial stress. For help on how to move from financial ruin to freedom in your marriage, check out the next post, Finding Freedom in Financial Unity.

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